All initial consultations, whether in person or via phone, are FREE OF CHARGE. For the safety of our clients and the investigator, the initial consult will occur in a safe, comfortable, public location. Naturally, we will be happy to come to our business/legal client's place of business.
Before any work begins on your investigation a retainer fee and contract will be agreed to and signed. Almost all private (vs commercial/legal) investigations will require a retainer up front. Only specified services agreed upon will be completed up to the limit of the agreed upon retainer. This protects you from being surprised with a massive bill you were not expecting. A "Fee Schedule" will be available at the initial FREE consultation. The contract is SLED approved and meets all legal requirements and yet it is easy to understand.
Depending on the complexity and length of the investigation, all fees will be broken down into an easy to understand format. From the initially provided retainer fee, funds will be withdrawn for billable hours, data base access fees, expenses, and mileage (at current federally approved rate). If we are approaching the maximum approved fee, you will be contacted for approval of further authorization on the investigation. At a minimum, the approval will be a "written approval" via email.
At the conclusion of the investigation you will be provided with a final written report. Depending on the type of investigation, you may also receive an in person debriefing to include video or audio files (as applicable). Original reports/files are retained for 3 years as per http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t15c003.php South Carolina Statute of Limitations for personal injury cases and civil actions. Cases may be held longer by court order or if requested by a licensed law firm.
If required to testify in court, the investigator will appear to testify with all required documents/files. Appearance in court is billable hours at the rate that was agreed upon on the original contract, regardless of whether Charleston Area Investigations, LLC has increased rates since the investigation was initiated.